The Murder of John Adamo

Broomfield High School was a difficult place for anyone who went there.  There were strict social lines that one must comply to, and failure to do so constituted a breach for which the violator risked alienation from the in crowd.  Lines were drawn along economic strata or along the ability to play football or some other sport.  And if you were not in, then you were virtually an untouchable.  To illustrate how bad it was, I draw up a memory of a girl in one of my classes who told a group of us how she had gone to a city in Nebraska with her latter jacket on, and while walking down the street she was stopped by a local girl who asked her what the “B” was for.  My classmate replied “Broomfield.”  The Nebraskan replied to her, “oh, is that that really stuck up place down by Boulder?”  Yes.  How wide had our reputation spread? 

It was in these circumstances that I knew John Adamo, a social misfit like myself, who had no chance of crossing the lines necessary for him to be acknowledged as anything more than general rubbish in the halls of our school.  He was not a quiet kid.  He was never well dressed.  I do even remember him carrying an odour with him that gave cause for other social misfits to avoid him.  He was not a bad person.  He was just difficult.  If you held any opinion different to him, he defended his not by attacking your opinion, or simply differing from it, but by attacking you more directly.  He certainly lacked social graces, like many of us did in that school.  But that was common, after all, since we were young, immature, and accustomed to being attacked directly for not fitting into the in crowd because our parents did not buy us new cars and brand named clothing.  My memories of John are such that it really did not surprise me this morning when I learned that the murder I had heard of some twelve years ago at Denver Wastewater Management turned out to have been his. 

The article in Westward paints John very much as the victim and does a careful job not to step on his grave.  It points out that the co-worker that murdered him had a very good work record for as long as John had been alive at that point.  It seems John had asked his murderer to stop washing his private truck in the company’s wash bay, as per policy.  The co-worker, Richard Brady, ignored him and carried on.  Richard was accustomed to taking liberties such as airing his tires or washing his truck in the convenient and powerful washers at work just like he and his fellows there always had done.  So while John defended company policy, he did so while breaching employee tradition. 

In another incident, Richard told John to stop parking his motorbike in the bays where the company trucks were meant to be parked, as a little tit-for-tat on Richard’s part. 

Ultimately Richard received and administrated leave so an investigation could be carried out to further deal with their arguing.  Four days with pay, the first blemish on Richard’s record in the previous five years that Denver Water keep residual records.  The morning Richard was to come back, he apparently carried a gun in with him.  He and John shared a lift on an elevator.  Richard claimed that John started in telling Richard, “I don’t care what you say, I am going to park my bike in the bay.”  According to Richard, John then hit him with his radio (John was an un-armed guard). 

Richard shot John six times, the disposed of his weapon. 

There is much more to the case than I am stating here, and I certainly don’t know Richard Brady. 

My point is that from the John Adamo I knew in high school, the news of his being murdered does not surprise me.  The John I remember was one who would have enforced company policy not because it was right, but because he could.  He would have broken tradition because it was a way of grating someone.  He may have instigated an argument with Richard in the elevator just before Richard murdered him, causing Richard to kill him rather than scare him, as Richard claimed he was intending to do.  As a character witness, I cannot in any way defend John’s innocence in this case.  But we will never know his side of the story because Richard Brady silenced him forever with gunshots to the head, leg, face, and hands.  I can only speculate the leg was first, the hands were John trying to protect his face as the gun was pointed to it after.  I can only guess John was afraid.  And I can only imagine what was spoken to him between shots to the leg, and then the kill shots in the head.  In all, he was shot six times. 

While John was the kind that could easily hove roused that kind of anger in another, Richard was a man with a wife and children.  He was on the verge of retirement.  Richard threw away John’s life in an obviously premeditated rage, and at the same time, he threw away 40 years of his own life to come.  At 56, plea-bargaining down his sentence from a mandatory life sentence probably didn’t do him much good! 

In the end, this was probably a clash of like personalities.  In the end, it was a tragic waste of two lives.  In the end shooting John only provided immediate gratification for a man unable to deal effectively or intelligently with someone who got on his nerves.  In the end, that never makes sense. 

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